The summer-like weather of the past week feels quite at odds with the changing leaves and October dates. This juxtaposition of the seasons is also reflected in the produce at market: there’s winter squash, broccoli, and sweet potatoes, yet there are also still tomatoes, cucumbers, and okra to be found, as well as other delights not as emblematic of either season.
Sleight Family Farm (Asheville City Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market) has grown a unique fruit now available: Thai red roselles, a species of hibiscus native to Asia. These beautiful fruits have a sweet, tart flavor; like cranberries or raspberries. They’re wonderful for making into jams, sauces, or tea, but can also be great to snack on raw.
Tender greens from the spring that disappeared for the summer due to the heat, are back for the fall. You can find these tender greens, such as arugula, spinach, and baby kale from Olivette Farm (Asheville City Market and Black Mountain Tailgate Market).
Not ready to let go of summer? Pick up cucumbers and tomatoes from Blue Meadow Farms (Black Mountain Tailgate Market, Asheville City Market, and West Asheville Tailgate Market) and okra from Highgate Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market).
Eager for the temperatures to drop? It’s a lovely time to invite friends over and have a fall taste test with multiple sweet potato varieties and see what folks find to be different between them and which they prefer. Covington and Beauregard are the most common varieties, but farmers grow others, too.
Paper Crane Farm (Asheville City Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market) has three additional varieties right now. Bonita which has tan skin and white flesh; Burgundy with bright red skin and orange flesh; and Murasaki, a purple-skinned, white-fleshed root. Each of these varieties has a slightly different flavor profile and sweetness; some are nuttier, sweeter, or more floral in flavor than the others. They’re all vibrant, delicious, and sure to make you feel like it’s fall, no matter how hot it is outside.
Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.